At last–my revamp of Mike Daisey’s site is up and running. Check it out at:


If you don’t tinker with web development, you should skip the next chunk of this dispatch. It’s 100% geeky.

Those still reading may be cringing when you see Mike’s new site. “My God! You used frames!”

Yes. Yes, I did. Bwah hah hah hah!

I used frames for Mike’s site despite their generally bad reputation. Thanks to lots of Javascript, I think the implementation is solid. If you bookmark any content frame, or open a content frame in a new window by itself, the site fixes itself with all frames correctly and loads the specific content frame you bookmarked or opened instead of just going back to scratch. This allows for effective bookmarking within a frame site, although you do have to right-click to bookmark a specific content frame rather than just the main site URL.

I’m pleased with how it worked out. There are still improvements I hope to make down the road, but my knowledge of Javascript is minimal at best and those improvements are more demanding.

For example, you’ll notice the stupid way in which banner ads rotate. Yes, it’s just a couple of different files that Refresh into each other. I’ve been unable to find a single banner-rotation script that works with the site. Some of our banner ads just need to load a URL into a new window (requiring a TARGET tag). Others need to reload three of the four frames with new content, a Javascript call that replaces and generates the HREF URL.

Some banner scripts don’t allow the TARGET tag needed to open the clicked link in a new window. They only let you specify the URL itself, which they pass to a function that generates the full HREF tag.

Others allow you to specify the full HREF tag. But because the HREF tag for the load-three-frames banners is itself a Javascript call, thereby nested within a Javascript call, the whole thing crashes.

On top of everything else, we’re hosting Mike’s site on Windows NT. This drops my options for scripts dramatically–no Perl, for example. We’re on NT because of the host, which gives us practically unlimited bandwidth for a very reasonable price. This is a very important feature because of all the Quicktime movies we serve, and so far this host is the best-suited and most-affordable option we could find, excepting the fact that the damn thing runs on Windows.

So, after trying a dozen or more banner-rotation solutions, the clumsy META REFRESH is the only one I get to work. Ah well.

=====> Non-webdev-geek content resumes here.

I bought a new microphone today for the video camera and then made a boom. Thanks Home Depot! I got 4 sections of 1/2″ x 24″ PVC pipe, threaded at both ends, with connectors. The 1/2″ threaded tip is a perfect fit for the threaded attachment to the mike–I can screw the mike right onto the end of the book and go from 2′ up to 8′ if needed. It’s freaking brilliant and it only cost $7.

Tomorrow night I go to New York City. I’m so pleased they got the light memorial up and going. The photographs look lovely. I’m looking forward to the whole experience, actually.

In the afternoon before the flight I’m heading to Wizards of the Coast to sign copies of Call of Cthulhu D20 with several other contribuors. WotC is setting aside a couple hundred copies to sell through their online store. These copies are signed and each includes a CD of music by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, a compilation of existing tracks assembled by WotC just for this edition. I believe there’s even a little rules supplement for use with the CD. You put the CD in on random play during your game, and each song applies different modifiers to combat and such while the song is playing. It’s a silly idea they did for fun, but who knows? Might be good. I expect the books to be beautiful.